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Business solicitor in Northampton & Milton Keynes



Chris Robinson
legal consultant

Clarity and experience in corporate law
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My experience

I am a senior corporate lawyer with 30 years' varied experience including banking, tax and insolvency. I'm a former equity partner in major regional law firms and I was described by The Legal 500 as “highly regarded”.

I have lived in Northampton and worked in Milton Keynes and the surrounding region for 16 years. I also know the Oxford and Birmingham markets and i spend time in London regularly.

My full CV is below.

A profile is also on LinkedIn.

Experience

Corporate transactions

Leading innumerable private company and business sales and purchases, mainly trade deals sub-20m but some private equity and (earlier in my career) many agreed public takeovers. Larger deals include an earn-out sale of a technology company to a listed company (as lead adviser), sale of a security company to an Indian buyer for 35m, sale of a newsagents chain to a prominent listed company, sale of a regional newspaper group to financial buyer and subsequent disposal of vendor retained stake to 130m MBO, reverse takeover of listed furniture group by a major national retail chain and purchase of a business of a former food conglomerate to create the UK’s largest egg producer. Provided all AIM advice to a PLC, including sensitive board composition and governance advice and handling a placing to fund an acquisition. Led, as lead adviser, the rescue purchase of a football club in administration. Handled disposals programme for national hotel group and acquisitions programme for franchised health club group, each involving standardised documents and procedures to streamline transactions and cut costs. Devised a legal and funding scheme for restructuring operators’ mobile phone mast portfolios. International deals including deals with elements in most European countries, USA and Canada, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan, Mauritius and Hong Kong. Particular experience of earn-outs and other structured consideration deals.

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Business advisory

Long-standing trusted adviser to business owners and CEO's. Lead adviser to an entrepreneur from establishing his business and breaking away from his previous employer to a multi-million sale. Sensitive advice to directors on insolvency issues, boardroom splits, shareholder disputes and director misbehaviour. Personally involved in the break-up of a partnership and leading a move to a new firm. Advised business owners on sensitive succession issues including implementing share-based incentives to give managers a business stake. Participated in long debates with clients on the merits of deals and the strategy to be followed. Company secretary of several unlisted PLCs. Participated in board meetings of a technology company over several years. Lead adviser in the rescue of a football club. Helped small businesses with start-up, structure, finance, contracts and sale.

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Insolvency

Wide experience of non-contentious corporate insolvency and restructuring, including advising administrators, liquidators and receivers and advice to directors, pre-insolvency restructuring, refinancing and rescue deals, validity of security and ROT issues, administration sales and purchases. Acted in Penrose v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [1996] 1WLR 482, the leading reported case on s216 consents (acting as director of company with similar name). Led the rescue of a football club from administration including structuring the deal, participating in the Court of Appeal defeat of the Inland Revenue challenge to the CVA (CIR v Wimbledon Football Club), consents from FA, Football League and PFA. Handled the pre-administration rescue sale of another League club. Secured instructions from a Big Four firm on administration and subsequent sale of 92-store retail chain. Advised administrators on validity of security over bills of lading. Secured instructions from another  Big Four firm on 10m administration debt recovery from 6,500 debtors, and proposed use of a Group Litigation Order. Advised on repeated use of notices of intention to appoint. Chaired seminars for insolvency practitioners. Was an associate member of R3.

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Banking and finance

Acted for an investment bank on all its lending transactions from Birmingham office over a two year period. Gained Fennemores membership of the Barclays lending panel (a small panel of 25 firms handling all Barclays corporate lending in the UK) and led the relationship, subsequently transferring it to EMW where it was incorporated into an existing banking team. Also gained corporate lending panel membership for National Australia Bank Group (Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank), Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland and Nationwide. Handled matters for HSBC, Lloyds TSB, RBS/NatWest.  Numerous banking transactions for banks, borrowers and private lenders including security over a famous steam engine, bills of lading, credit insurance, bills of exchange and a Premiership football ground. Priority, subordination and inter-creditor arrangements.

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Tax, corporate structuring and employee share schemes

Attached to Pinsents tax department as a corporate lawyer for two years, then and since handling complex tax-based restructurings including demergers and s110 schemes. CGT “rate banking” transactions including uncompleted contract planning. Joint ventures. Worked with David Pett, the employee share schemes guru, on schemes for public and private companies including EMI, EBTs and CSOPs – later led EMW’s share scheme practice and developed fixed-price share scheme packages. Growth share planning. Stamp duty planning, lectured on stamp duty on a national tax training course for national firm of accountants. Many court-approved reductions of capital, and devised precedents and marketing materials for new-style out of court reductions. Technical work on distributable profits, accounting for goodwill, financial assistance, group accounting.

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Business development

Held largely business development roles at Irwin Mitchell and Henmans, plus the head of department role at Fennemores. Handled firmwide marketing activities including brochures, newsletters, websites and advertising. I enjoy speaking, organising numerous seminars including annual seminars for IoD and a joint seminar with PricewaterhouseCoopers on directors’ responsibilities, a seminar on employee share schemes and chairing insolvency practitioner seminars. Tenders and beauty parades, including successful tender to Barclays. Coordinated partnership level projects to manage referrer relationships. Refreshed and organised the firm’s relationships with accountants and other referrers, including a new system of key relationship management with individual plans and objectives. Rapidly built a network of new contacts in a new city. Responsible for major client relationships. Identified opportunities for selling new services. Created a packaged products sales initiative including materials and strategy. Introduced substantial work into other departments from clients and contacts including defence of a commercial libel action and a football injuries/TUPE action, a search and seize/injunction claim, estates work for a retail chain, banker trusts for vendors’ CGT planning, insolvency litigation and international intellectual property advice.

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Management

At Fennemores, increased turnover of corporate team by 2/3 over four years. Participated in all major partnership decisions. Restructured the company commercial department, responsible for up to 19 staff and all personnel issues, departmental procedures, quality standards, training and minimum IT literacy standards. Implemented Lexcel and Investors in People standards. Led the group of partners wanting to transfer the commercial practice to EMW and negotiated the move. Quality partner with responsibility for output quality and brand image, and for information resources. Implemented severe budget cuts. Responsible for corporate department training including preparation for Companies Act 2006.

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Career history

Wade Robinson LLP, 2012 onward - founding partner in this (non-law firm) consultancy providing advice to law firms on performance and compliance - www.waderobinson.co.uk, running alongside my legal activities.

Legal Consultant, 2010 onward - providing clarity and experience to businesses and law firms through Chris Robinson Ltd and as a consultant at Excello Law, a virtual law firm providing commercial law services through senior lawyers working from home offices.

Henmans, Oxford, 2009-2010 - Partner, corporate team in this major Oxford law firm, a diversified practice seeking to build its corporate presence.

EMW Picton Howell (previously emw law), Milton Keynes 2006-2009 - partner, corporate finance, in this regional commercial law firm (“the leading firm in Milton Keynes” – The Legal 500). One of three top hourly rate partners deemed capable of giving strategic advice at board level.

Fennemores, Milton Keynes 1996-2006 - the largest firm in Milton Keynes with up to 200 staff. Head of Corporate team throughout, head of Company Commercial department from 2003.

Irwin Mitchell, Birmingham 1993-96 - partner, head of Commercial Services in the Birmingham office of this Sheffield-based national firm.

Pinsent & Co (now Pinsent Masons), Birmingham 1981-1993 - training contract 1981, assistant solicitor 1983, youngest ever Associate 1987, salaried partner 1990, technical partner for the Corporate department.


Education & qualifications

Admitted as a solicitor 1983. College of Law, Guildford, 1980-81: Law Society Final. University of Hull, 1977-80: law degree, LLB 2:1. The British School of Brussels, Belgium, 1970-77.

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Personal

I live in Collingtree Park, Northampton, just off the M1 so with excellent communications. I'm married with twin adult sons.

I enjoy family life, cinema, photography, technology and watching cricket.

I am a fluent French speaker following my early years in Brussels.

More information is on my Facebook page. A business profile is also on LinkedIn.



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Want to know more? Contact me on 07770 601840.




 
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Chris Robinson, who is a solicitor with a practising certificate (SRA no 126999, admitted 1983) provides services only through  and on behalf of Chris Robinson Ltd which does not provide legal services to the public but which advises and provides services to clients only through and on behalf of law firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and subject to the firms' terms of engagement.  Your attention is drawn to  the further information and the terms of use of this site on the legal stuff page. 2010-12 Chris Robinson Ltd.